Today’s readings.. (Ruth 3,4), (Isaiah 45), (Revelation 1,2)
Yesterday and today we read the lovely story of Ruth. We saw the outcome of the faithfulness of this woman, who had been widowed early in life. She supported her grieving mother-in-law, Naomi and although not born an Israelite, she told Naomi, “Your people shall be my people, and your God shall be my God.” [1 v.16]
Her action is a telling example to those who believe in Christ – of the commitment they are making. Boaz, who marries Ruth, becomes the “redeemer” (ch, 4 v.7 onwards). Together they become the grandparents of Jesse, the father of David. Those who witnessed the commitment of Boaz to Ruth say ‘May the LORD make the woman, who is coming into your house, like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the house of Israel (Jacob). May you act worthily …” This takes our thoughts to the book of Revelation which we started reading today. The first thing John is told is to address 7 churches (1 v.4 onwards) and to, “Write what you see in a book” [v.11]. The essence of each message to them is “may you act worthily.” But sadly that is not always the case – such is human nature.
Each letter starts with “I know your works” because Jesus now has the power to see and know all that believers are thinking and doing. The first message is to the believers at Ephesus. He praises their “patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil …” [2 v.2] But then we read, “But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not ….” [v.4,5]
Jesus expects whole hearted love from those who take on his name; they have shown their commitment and love of him by being baptised, an action which identifies them with his death and resurrection, for that is what it symbolizes. (see Romans 6 v.3-11) His letter to Ephesus ends by telling them, “To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.” [v.7]
That paradise (a world-wide garden – remember the garden in Eden) – is on earth – and the eating of the tree from which Adam and Eve were banished refers to the reward of eternal life on earth in God’s kingdom when Jesus returns. “May you act worthily”– may all believers “conquer” all hindrances. How wonderful if that could be so, Finally, think on what Jesus said in his message to the believers at Thyatira, “hold fast what you have until I come.” [v.25]